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Verdugo Views: The Dryden homes

Two day reunion planned for Dryden family members.

June 05, 2013|By Katherine Yamada
  • Nathaniel Dryden is buried in the Brand family cemetery. His headstone, center, is flanked on the right by a headstone for his wife, Helen, and on the left by a headstone for his son-in-law W. P. Thompson.
Nathaniel Dryden is buried in the Brand family cemetery.… (Special Collections )

Three houses designed by Nathaniel L. Dryden stand in northwest Glendale. Two — El Miradero and Ard Eevin — are on Mountain Street and the third is on Grandview Avenue.

Of the three, Dryden is best known for El Miradero, which is now Brand Library. He also designed several other dwellings, including a Beverly Hills estate.

Dryden's entry into Glendale was through his wife, Helen, sister of L.C. Brand.

Helen, known as "Nellie," and Dryden were both born in Missouri. They had two children, Virginia, born in 1877 and Ada in 1880.

Helen inherited a sheep ranch in Texas, but after suffering drought-related losses in that state, they moved to Los Angeles around 1887. Perhaps they were inspired by Brand, who had already settled in Los Angeles.

By 1902, the year Ada married W. P. Thompson, the Drydens were living on Vermont Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Times, June 12, 1902.

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But the next year, when Virginia was married, they were living on Harvard Boulevard in the Wilshire area.

At first, L.C. and Mary Louise Brand also lived in Los Angeles. Then L.C. purchased land in Glendale and asked his brother-in-law to design a house, El Miradero. The architecture was inspired by the East Indian Pavilion at the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893.

About the same time, Brand encouraged a young friend, Dan Campbell, to buy adjoining property and suggested that Dryden also design their house. The two-story, West Indian plantation-style dwelling was lighted with acetylene gas, according to the Glendale News, October, 1905. They called it Ard Eevin.

The third northwest house designed by Dryden was for his daughter Ada and her husband. Their wood-shingled, two-story house was built just a short distance down the new thoroughfare, Grandview, from El Miradero.

Dryden designed another home, a very notable one, for his daughter Virginia.

Virginia Dryden met Harry Robinson, heir to J.W. Robinson Department Stores, right after her family arrived in California. After their wedding and an extended honeymoon, they purchased several acres from Burton Green in Beverly Hills, and her father designed the mansion that is now part of Virginia Robinson Gardens It was built in 1911, according to the gardens' website.

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